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Senator: Chinese Knockoffs Costing U.S. Dress Industry $1 Billion Every Year

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez argued Monday that the U.S. needs to take serious regulatory measures to curb the flow of counterfeit prom dresses, The Hill reports.

Over 90 percent of products entering the U.S. ever year which violate intellectual property standards emerge from Hong Kong and China, with foreign companies aggressively charging cheaper prices to lure in consumers. While rock bottom prices may tempt customers, the products tend to be of inferior quality, and a blatant violation of intellectual property standards.

“They take our images, they use them up on the Internet and it looks to an average consumer that they’re getting the real deal when in fact they’re not,” said Stephen Lang, CEO of Cherie Bridals. “There’s enormous quality differences, there’s fit differences.”

But once the dress is purchased, it’s too late. These quality differences end up costing consumers time and money, since they’re often unable to purchase a proper dress in enough time for their event. Domestic companies lose out on revenue, and the customers lose out on the product.

Menendez estimates that around 700,000 counterfeit bridal and prom dresses make their way into the United States every year, which costs U.S. companies around $1 billion dollars, since domestic companies take great pains to invest in design and marketing. Comparatively, foreign companies with knockoffs only have to convince customers to buy what appears to be the same product—without hope for a refund.

“The domestic prom and bridal dress industry is increasingly under threat from Chinese dress manufacturers and websites that sell counterfeit goods directly to U.S. consumers,” Menendez wrote in a letter sent to Lev Kubiak, director of the Intellectual Property Rights Coordination (IPR) Center.

Menendez has repeatedly asked the White House and the Intellectual Property Rights Center to step in and reinforce customs authorities. Foreign companies must not be allowed to continue to rip off U.S. customers, Menendez argued.

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